Cells as Active Particles in Asymmetric Potentials: Motility under External Gradients

J. Comelles , D. Caballero , R. Voituriez , V. Hortigueela , V. Wollrab , A.L. Godeau , J. Samitier , E. Martinez , D. Riveline

Bibtex , URL
Published 07 Oct. 2014
DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2014.08.001
ISSN: 0006-3495


Cell migration is a crucial event during development and in disease. Mechanical constraints and chemical gradients can contribute to the establishment of cell direction, but their respective roles remain poorly understood. Using a microfabricated topographical ratchet, we show that the nucleus dictates the direction of cell movement through mechanical guidance by its environment. We demonstrate that this direction can be tuned by combining the topographical ratchet with a biochemical gradient of fibronectin adhesion. We report competition and cooperation between the two external cues. We also quantitatively compare the measurements associated with the trajectory of a model that treats cells as fluctuating particles trapped in a periodic asymmetric potential. We show that the cell nucleus contributes to the strength of the trap, whereas cell protrusions guided by the adhesive gradients add a constant tunable bias to the direction of cell motion.

This publication is related to:

Stochastic dynamics of reactive and living systems